...Food and Recipes, One Planet Living, Sustainable Living

One Planet Food

March 4, 2017

Oh my goodness. If  I thought January whizzed by, then February feels like it has almost passed me by completely!
I had so many good intentions of all the brilliant posts I was going to write about One Planet Buying, but life got really busy, and I’m starting up something new (you can take a peek here if you fancy!), and I’m realising that I find it really hard to focus on more than one thing at once!
Anyway, I’m here, and I’m determined to carry on this theme of One Planet Living – I’ve had so many lovely comments and e-mails from people telling me how useful they are finding it to be able to break things down, and tackle things in a more structured way, so it feels like it’s making a difference. Which makes me very happy.

So… this month is all about Food.


How do we ensure that the food we are eating is within the resource constraints of the planet to produce it? How do we minimise the impact of the food we eat, not only on the planet but on the people producing it?
But before we get down to the ‘How’, I’m going to stop for a moment as always, and look at the ‘why’?
Why do we need to eat more thoughtfully/consciously/mindfully? (from a planetary perspective, rather than our own health angle).

We touched a little bit on ‘sustainable eating’ in January when we looked at Making Do in terms of the food we eat. And I included some pretty shocking statistics in that post in terms of food waste:

  • Between 30 and 50% of the food that is produced never even reaches the table
    – it is thrown away because it doesn’t meet the supermarkets rigid cosmetic standards, or the packaging is mis-labelled, or a myriad of other reasons.
  • The food thrown away in Europe and North America would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world three times over

But there are other issues around sustainable eating, aside from leftovers:

  • All food has embedded energy (carbon) and water in it. This is the energy and water that it has taken to grow, transport and package the food before it arrives on our supermarket shelves.
  • Some food takes more energy to produce than others – for example red meat is a really energy intensive food stuff to produce.
  • Growing enough food to feed a population of 7 billion is becoming increasingly challenging, and products like soy are seen by some as the answer. But digging up land to create vast swathes of mono-cultures brings with it it’s own set of problems.
  • Making the best use of the food we have shows appreciation for the people who have worked so hard to produce it – the farmers, the growers, the packers, many of whom work long hours in difficult conditions.

In an ideal world, we would all eat organically, seasonally and locally. We would eat ‘real food’ cooked from scratch, and would be able to source the ingredients we needed packaging free.
But as we all know, we don’t live in an idea world. Far from it.
So we need to get informed. We need to decide which of the many and complex issues around food and sustainability are most important to us, or another way to look at it is which issues are most achievable for us to tackle in our own families, or which would have the most impact.
I’m going to be exploring some of these issues over the course of this month, but as well as finding out more about them, I also want to offer up some useful, actionable steps, to help us all take action on what can feel like a hugely overwhelming issue.

I haven’t even started to do this really complex subject justice with this post, but it’s a start.
I want to start a conversation with you guys around sustainable eating. So it’s over to you – what are the issues that you struggle with around food and sustainability? What makes you angry? What do you find it hard to see a way past (for me, it’s plastic packaging)?
What are you going to be focussing on this month – set yourself some goals – are you going supermarket free? Are you going to eat locally? Only in season? Avoid processed food?
Do let me know what your ‘pain points’ and your goals are in the comments below, or hop over to the Facebook group to join in, and I will try and tailor this month’s blog posts to make sure we come up with some solutions for you all.

Here’s to some ‘good eating’ this month 🙂

 

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5 Comments

  • Reply Aurora March 6, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I’m vegan and eat mostly a wholefood diet, in climate and habitat terms I don’t think I could reduce my footprint much more; save removing palm oil completely from my diet. The lack of bulk container stores in the UK annoys me – we used to have Scoop n’ Saves, but everything instead comes heavily packaged from supermarkets now.

    I’m trying to eat more salads and use lower energy cooking methods. I cooked a batch of beans in a thermal cooker last week and it worked well; and saved around 40 mins worth of hob (gas) cooking.

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Yes, more bulk stores would make a huge difference!

  • Reply amradcliffe March 4, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Something I find encouraging is that so many of these concerns lead to the same solution: fresh, local/seasonal produce. These products are sold sans packaging at small local businesses, and are the healthiest to boot! My goal this year is to reduce packaging waste, so I’m learning to make my own condiments from these fresh local ingredients.

    My achilles heel is getting caught away from home and having to buy food out. Prepared food within my budget almost always comes with disposable packaging, and even sit-down restaurants run through plenty of plastic behind the scenes. The missing ingredient, as with so many of these problems, is foresight. Someday I hope to be organized enough to avoid those situations altogether!

    • Reply Jen March 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Being aware of our ‘stumbling blocks’ is often the first step to overcoming them, and you sound like you have brilliant self-awareness!

  • Reply plumesworld March 4, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I am vegan and I think that is the one most environmental thing you can do. I try not to eat very much processed food and eat British/local. I drink hemp milk from UK grown hemp rather than soya or almond milk and I’ve started getting a UK grown veg box to try and eat more seasonally as well.

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